‘First lady’ of the organ Diane Bish coming to Toronto

Diane Bish must be the busiest woman in the world. Besides being the pre-eminent organ performer of our time, she also composes, has designed her own instrument, runs a television program that’s in its 30th year with over 500 programs in the bank, and is gearing up to perform in Toronto.

None of this seems to tire her out, though. As she readies for her June 6 closing performance at Toronto’s Organix festival, Bish is recovering from a bout of laryngitis and has recently returned from a filming her TV program The Joy of Music, where she took a riverboat from Amsterdam to Switzerland, playing at various ports along the way.

Catholic Movie Reviews - Snow White and the Huntsman, Chernobyl Diaries, Crooked Arrows

This week's big release is another modern re-telling of the classic Snow White fairytale. Is it worth your $13?

Celebrating lay leadership with the sound of music [w/ audio]

TORONTO - Three years of lay formation training was celebrated on Pentecost Sunday at a quasi-graduation ceremony for 66 people at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish.

During the afternoon event, adults from 30 Archdiocese of Toronto parishes were recognized for their leadership accomplishments, dedication to the community’s faith and personal sacrifice of time.

“We (zeroed) in on basically the foundational foundations of the faith to try and help people understand what it is the Church actually teaches,” said Bill Targett, director of the office of formation who launched the project in 2009.

Brief news item about victims led priest to tackle issue of 'femicide'

ORANGE, Calif. - Father Rafael Luevano's life was never been the same, he says, since he spotted that small story in the newspaper almost 20 years ago.

"At the breakfast table one morning back in 1993, I read the briefest of newspaper accounts reporting on the discovery of what would be merely the first of the hundreds of women's bodies that would be found in the desert on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico.

"In that instant my life changed."

St. Michael’s Choir School alumnus to perform all 32 of Beethoven’s sonatas

TORONTO - Beethoven has long been hailed as one of the most emotionally charged and technically demanding composers of all time. So The Beethoven Marathon is shaping up as quite a demanding day for Toronto-born pianist Stewart Goodyear.

Goodyear will be playing all 32 of Beethoven’s sonatas. And, not just playing them — playing them all in a day and in order, no less.

Catholic Movie Reviews - Men in Black 3, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Men in Black franchise is back after ten years, can it topple The Avengers from the top of the box office? Elsewhere we also have a review of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the new film about seven elderly Brits who travel to India.

Faith in the footlights: Religion gets a curtain call on Broadway

NEW YORK - Can it be? Has Broadway found religion?

According to one recent article, a bumper crop of faith-themed shows, like "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Godspell," "Book of Mormon" and "Sister Act," has transformed Broadway into a "highway to heaven."

So why the great awakening on the Great White Way?

Dominican boils down 700 years of European art history

TORONTO - There’s no time like the present, except of course the past. Dominican art historian Fr. Marius Zerafa knows the past and refuses to romanticize it.

“Human nature has remained very much as it was in the Old Testament,” he told The Catholic Register in an interview. The golden age of sacred art was never quite so golden as it’s generally portrayed. Even 450 years ago, cardinals and bishops at the Council of Trent worried over the degeneration, immorality and self-indulgence of contemporary art.

Salt+Light doc on St. Peter’s Seminary windows takes home Gabriel glory

Fr. Michael Prieur has lived at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ont., for more than 50 years. For 40 of those years, he never paid attention to the stained glass windows in the chapel.

“And then one day I wondered why St. Jerome was dressed up like a cardinal when there was no such outfit in the days that he lived,” Prieur told The Catholic Register.

Catholic Movie Reviews - The Dictator, Battleship, What to Expect When You're Expecting

The Avengers is still sitting on top of the box office charts. Can the new Sacha Baron Cohen comedy dethrone it?

Festival co-founder Gordon Mansell discusses Organix 2012 [video]

Organix festival co-founder Gordon Mansell talks with The WholeNote's David Perlman May 8 2012, one week into the 7th annual month long Toronto Organix Festival. 

See for more information.


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- Musical journey brings acclaimed organist Massimo Nosetti to Toronto [w/ audio]

22-year-old Patrick Murray bringing new life to sacred music

TORONTO - At first glance, Patrick Murray is pretty much the antithesis of a choral music composer. The lanky, plaid-wearing fellow with a quick laugh and easy smile has been making a name for himself with his impressive compositions, most recently for his work “Book of Lamentations,” a choral composition based on a 10th-century Christian text that will be premiered by the prestigious Canadian Men’s Chorus. And he’s just 22 years old.

“It is extremely structured, extremely singable and the structural complexity of it is extremely interesting and very advanced, I think, for someone who is 22 years old,” said Greg Rainville, founder and artistic director of the Canadian Men’s Chorus.

Pining for religion’s golden age with Ross Douthat's "Bad Religion"

Heretics, heresy, lost opportunities and misdirection — Bad Religion has it all.

Depending on where and when you first read about Bad Religion — the book, not the band — you might be of the opinion it is a smart, thoughtful take on the United States and the importance of religion. Or you might be pretty sure it is a sloppily assembled defense of some of the most retrograde Christianity imaginable.